Engine bay cleanup, 1990 V12 Vanden Plas

(Paul M. Novak) #21

When I cleaned up the engine bay of my wife’s 1990 XJ-S convertible (5.3L V12 with Marelli ignition) last year, I went a level deeper than the recent work I did on my 1990 V12 Vanden Plas (5.3L V12 with Lucas ignition) and I removed the intake manifolds, leaky cam shaft covers, and adjusted the valve clearances. I have adjusted the intake and exhaust valve clearances many times on my 4.2L XK engine equipped Jaguars but that was a first for me on a V12 and I learned to use the different tools and techniques. Most of the 24 valves were out of spec and took a while to adjust primarily because there were so many to adjust.

I did not remove the intake manifolds or cam shaft covers on my 1990 V12 Vanden Plas because it has much lower mileage and the cam covers were not leaking.

Other than that it was much the same work cleaning, painting, polishing, replacing most everything on the top of the engine. I also took the time to rewrap all the vinyl wrapped wiring harnesses with some 3M high temperature vinyl tape especially the ones where I removed and replaced the broken plastic connectors. I was pleasantly surprised how much rewrapping the harnesses improved the engine bay appearance.


(Carl Hutchins, Jr. ) #22

Only one or possibly two tools lost in he abyss of my lump.

I recall that a magnetic tool tray is available to perch above other critters.

I do have a wand with a pretty strong magnt at the end to fish for strays,


(Paul) #23

Dreamy…you’re a man after my own heart.
Great to see. Thanks for sharing.

(John Testrake) #24

Beautiful Paul. Just beautiful.

(V12 Dave) #25

Hi Paul
I too am getting through a deep clean and refresh on my 87 XJ12.
I hadn’t thought of checking the valve clearances and I have to admit my knees tremble a little at the thought of it. The car only has about 68000km so I have assumed (wanting to believe) that I wouldn’t have to get into such things.

How badly were the valves out of spec, how big of a job is it and what type of special equipment is needed?

Your engine bay is an inspiration by the way. What do you use to clean the electrical connectors? the grime seems to be welded on to mine.


(Paul M. Novak) #26

Thank you for the kind words. If I were you I would “let sleeping dogs lie” regarding the valve clearances in you very low mileage (68,000 km=42,000 m) XJ12. I did the thorough engine bay cleanup on my wife’s 1990 XJ-S convertible because of it’s much higher mileage (130,000 m = 209,000 km), as well as a number of engine related issues that needed to be dealt with. I did not do that level of work on my 1990 V12 Vanden Plas because it has much lower mileage and fewer issues that needed to be dealt with. For completeness attachedis a picture of the engine bay in my wife’s 1990 XJ-S after I completed the engine bay restoration.

This way you can see both engine bays.
As far as the 24 valves in the V12, 11 were still within spec and 13 needed to be adjusted, all because the clearances had closed up a bit. It was a large challenge for me to do because there were so many valves to deal with. I have done valve clearance adjustments in my two Series III XJ6s and 1969 E-Type before so I was very familiar with the procedure, but the V12 engines need some special tools to do the job right per the Repair Operations Manual. Fortunately for me, the Jaguar Clubs of North America (JCNA) have these tools available through their Tool Loan program and as a JCNA member I ordered the right tools to get the job done.


(Paul M. Novak) #27

My previous post somehow got sent before answering all of your questions. Sorry about that.
As far as the engine bay cleanup, I use Simple Green, a lot of different kinds of cleaning brushes, and lot of paper towels. I don’t use harsh chemicals and never use a water spray wash in the engine bay. I have read occassionally on Jag-Lovers the problems encountered when someone tries one of these supposedly :quick and easy" methods. There was a recent email string on the XJ-S list when a lister spray washed his engine bay and couldn’t understand why he was having engine problems afterwards.
I use Simple Green and water on the connectors but dry them afterwards with air from my shop air compressor. I usually find a few broken connectors and replace them with parts harvested from my parts cars or new aftermarket ones if I don’t have them. I also cut out damaged sections of wire and solder in new pieces as necessary. All in all these engine bay clean up projects have been very time consuming but also very satisfying.


(Kim Wylie) #28

Wow… Paul!! What a fantastic bay…well done it’s an inspiration!! Will start on mine in the Spring.


(Paul M. Novak) #29

Thank you for the kind words.
Attached is an exterior picture of my Canadian market 1990 V12 Vanden Plas taken at the Embarcadero Park in San Diego, CA.
I recently performed the thorough engine bay cleanup because it did not look as good as the exterior and interior of the car did. Now everything on the car looks amazing.
Please share some pictures of your car when you can.


(Aristides Balanos) #30

Some aesthetic enchantments…
Painted Fuel Rail, polished Ignition Amp and Throttle Pedestal !

(chris gruchawka 1988 XJ-SC) #31

They look great! Did you apply any finish/top coat to the throttle/amp ?

(Aristides Balanos) #32

No, just polished them.
They loose the shine with time, but it’s been some years since I did them and they still look good.

(Greg) #33

Work of art. Great inspiration Paul!

(Paul M. Novak) #34

Thank you. In the past few years I have done engine bay cleanups/restorations on my wife’s 1990 XJ-S convertible, my 1987 XJ6 Vanden Plas (which I sold shortly afterwards), my 1990 V12 Vanden Plas, and I recently started one on my 1984 XJ6 Vanden Plas (see attached picture). This time I removed the engine due to a variety of issues and I will install the nicely running engine from a crash damaged 1987 XJ6 parts car that I purchased once I get the engine bay looking like new again. I completed the initial cleaning but I have some rust, brake fluid damaged paint, broken connectors and other issues to deal with first.


(Gregor Eichenberger) #35

Great work Paul. Engine bay looks great. Wish I were in that move so I would first remove all the asbestos insulations on and under the Jag and replace with something less toxic.

(Paul M. Novak) #36

Hmmm. Regarding asbestos my policy is to let sleeping dogs lie. I will definitely leave it intact, clean it carefully and paint it with a high temperature silver engine paint to make it look like new and brighten up the engine bay. It is safe as it is. The health problems arise when small particles of asbestos get into the air and inhaled. That could happen if I tried to remove it. So I will leave the asbestos insulation intact.


(Gregor Eichenberger) #37

Yes, in this case you’re right :blush: